Actions to Take in the Event of a Coronavirus Outbreak at Work
Official Government guidance for England recommends that, as part of the risk management, employers should ensure they have an up-to-date plan in the event of an outbreak.
Guidance from the British Standards Institution recommends that organisations “should establish and communicate processes to manage suspected and confirmed cases of Covid-19”.
In the event of an employee (or other stakeholder) becoming unwell, organisations should ensure they have a procedure for immediate action that:
• requires any person becoming unwell to be treated as a potential Covid-19 case
• enables the person that is unwell to be isolated while awaiting first-aid assistance, transport home or assistance from medical professionals
• provides appropriate personal protective equipment to first-aid personnel and a face mask to the person who is unwell (taking account of any respiratory issues)
• ensures first-aid personnel are aware of procedures to follow as detailed by the Health and Safety Executive
• enables the person to return home (where medical assistance is not required) avoiding the use of public transport (eg collection by family member)
• encourages the staff member to seek a Covid-19 test and then inform the employer of the result of that test.
Where there is a known or suspected case, the organisation should put into action the necessary cleaning requirements as described in official Government/home nation guidance, including disposal of items of waste.
The BSI guide recommends that where a suspected or confirmed case is known, employers should “establish if an affected worker has been in close contact with other workers (eg performing work activities without physical distancing in a team or pair)”.
This will fall in line with requirements under the various UK test and trace regimes, which should form part of any process and planning for suspected or confirmed cases.
The planning should also include a process to determine if the case (when confirmed) requires reporting under RIDDOR as a work-related exposure.
If there is more than one case of Covid-19 associated with a workplace, employers should contact their local health protection team to report the suspected outbreak.
Remember to look at the previous blogs for advice. They may be of benefit. Please feel free to forward our blogs onto your contacts, friends and family.
Remember to stay safe and be compliant!
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